Warehouse Workers Face a Constant Risk of Injury

Warehouse Worker InjuriesWarehouse work is one of the leading industries in Alabama, with many residents of Huntsville and Decatur employed in warehouses, factories, and distribution centers across the state. These workers face constant risks as warehouses are among the most hazardous work environments. A significant reason for this danger is the large and powerful machinery that employees must operate or work around during their shifts.

The different types of machines that warehouse workers use

Various machines are used in warehouse environments to enhance efficiency and ease of work. These machines can drastically reduce the time required to complete tasks that would otherwise be labor-intensive and time-consuming. Here are some of the common machines used by warehouse workers:

  • Forklift
  • Conveyors
  • Order picker
  • Pallet jack
  • Cranes
  • Monorails
  • Miniload system
  • Pallet lifts
  • Stackers
  • Dock leveler
  • Industrial shredders

There are many other types of machines that warehouse workers use. Depending on what type of work a warehouse is responsible for, there may be machines that cut, fold, crush, or secure items.

What types of mistakes and errors can cause machinery accidents?

All it takes is one simple mistake or error to cause a machinery accident that could have devastating effects. Therefore, it is crucial to remain vigilant and follow safety protocols. Some common errors that can cause machinery accidents include:

  • Failure to check surroundings and blind spots
  • Operating machine carelessly or recklessly
  • Using a machine that you have no experience or training on
  • Not wearing appropriate protective equipment or gear
  • Starting machinery without ensuring the area is clear
  • Wearing loose clothing or jewelry while operating a machine
  • Distracted operation (e.g., using a phone, listening to music)
  • Failing to follow the lock-out and tag-out procedures
  • Not turning off machinery before cleaning or inspecting
  • Failing to report broken or malfunctioning machinery

What type of defects can result in a machine accident?

Defective machinery can cause severe and potentially fatal accidents. These defects can often be traced back to the manufacturer. Common types of machinery defects include:

  • A defect in the manufacturing: Products are expected to be manufactured in a way that will keep the user safe and harm-free while using them. Therefore, if there is a manufacturing error, there may be a broken, cut, or missing piece on the machine. As a result, the machine was most likely manufactured differently than other similar machines, which can cause severe injuries and fatalities.
  • A defect in the design: A defect in the design means that a product was poorly or incorrectly designed. For example, if a machine that is used to cut metals does not consist of a proper safeguard and, as a result, causes a severe injury to an employee, this could be considered a defect in the design.
  • A defect in the advertising or marketing: When a manufacturer does not provide known dangers or warnings regarding a product, this is considered a defect in advertising or marketing. For example, if a manufacturer knows that the machine can overheat and should be turned off for a few minutes every couple of hours, they are required to warn users about this. Failure to do so can lead to a fire, explosion, and severe injuries.

Common injuries caused by machinery accidents

Machinery accidents can result in catastrophic and sometimes fatal injuries. Survivors often face long-term medical care and assistance. Common injuries include:

  • Crushed limbs and body parts: Working around machines can lead to crushed hands, feet, arms, and legs. For example, your hand may get stuck in a machine that is used to crush cardboard, resulting in your hand becoming crushed. It is very difficult to recover from this type of injury as your bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves may be permanently damaged and irreparable.
  • Deep cuts, punctures, and lacerations: Many machines are used to cut through thick pieces of wood, metal, and plastics. Therefore, they usually need to be sharp to successfully do this. However, when working around these types of machines, you are at risk of suffering a deep cut, puncture, or laceration, which could result in several stitches and lifelong scarring.
  • Amputations: Amputations usually happen when a person becomes entangled in a machine. For example, if you drop a personal item near the conveyor belt and reach for it without turning the machine off, your arm may become caught in the machine, causing it to pull your arm right out of the socket and off of your body.
  • Traumatic brain injuries: If you fall off a machine and hit your head, you may suffer a traumatic brain injury. These types of injuries are very serious as they can cause permanent changes among the cells in the brain or even death.
  • Burns: If a machine is defective, it may spark, catch on fire, or explode. As a result, you may experience burns on your body. Burns are very painful and can lead to long-term complications and scarring that can affect you physically and emotionally for many years.
  • Broken bones and fractures: Broken bones and fractures may occur when working around a machine for many reasons. For example, if a coworker is speeding on a forklift and not paying attention, they may run over your foot and break every bone inside of it.
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage: Internal bleeding and organ damage are very serious injuries that must be treated by a licensed medical provider right away to prevent further complications or death. When a worker falls off the order picker and lands on their back or stomach, they may experience internal bleeding or organ damage. In addition, if a machine lands on a worker’s body, it can also cause internal bleeding or organ damage.

Can I file a third-party claim for my machinery accident and injuries?

If a third party is responsible for your machinery accident and injuries, you may be eligible to file a third-party claim. For example, if a defective part caused the accident, you could file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. If the manufacturer failed to warn about a known defect, you might also have grounds for a claim.

At Martin & Helms, we are experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable when it comes to machinery accidents caused by coworker and employer negligence as well as manufacturer negligence. Therefore, if you need help navigating the legal process and deciding what you should do, our Huntsville personal injury attorneys are here to help. We will listen to your experience, conduct our own investigation, look over the facts and details of your accident, inform you of your rights, and help you decide which legal option is in your best interest. Please call our office or complete our contact form to schedule a free case review today. Although we are based in Huntsville and Decatur, we proudly serve clients from Madison, Athens, and throughout North Alabama.